Airman raises $1,700 for Enlisted Village, earns trip to AF Marathon

  • Published
  • By Amber Baillie
  • Academy Spirit staff writer
Airman 1st Class Casey Nation first discovered his talent for running when he was 7 years-old, sprinting repeatedly across his parents' driveway without losing a hint of steam.

Nation, a lean, 6-foot 2-inch tall Florida native, assigned to the 10th Medical Support Squadron, will soon use his gifts of speed and endurance to signify something greater when he represents the Academy this year at the Air Force Marathon Sept. 21 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

"I'm really excited but pretty nervous," Nation said. "My goal is to finish the race within two hours and beat at least half of my competition."

This will be Nation's third 26-mile race. He will be the only runner officially representing the Academy at the marathon.

"I don't like running on a track, so I think that's why I like running marathons," Nation said. "It's relaxing; I enjoy the view and the fact that there are so many people. You always have one person you need to pass."

Nation said he trains every day for the marathon, running 4 to 12 miles in the morning and afternoon. He also said he eats continually throughout the day to gain weight and keep up his energy level.

"I mainly run by myself but I'm trying to get people to bike next to me," Nation said. "If there's a group of people or someone encouraging me, I can just run forever. It's motivating and gets my adrenaline pumping."

To attend the race, Nation needed to raise at least $500 for the Air Force Enlisted Village. He accomplished that in two days and has so far raised $1,700.

"Even if I hadn't been selected to represent the Academy, I still would have fund raised for the Air Force Enlisted Village and tried to get there myself," Nation said.

In high school, Nation ran cross country and once ran 56 miles during a Relay for Life event.

"I ran about 226 laps, the most laps run by an individual," Nation said. "I think that's why I don't like to run on a track anymore."

Nation said he thinks the biggest challenge as a runner is maintaining good technique.

"Some people will remember their technique, be very smooth and then mid-way through their run will forget about it because they're tired or have lactic acid," Nation said. "My older brother says I run like a velociraptor from Jurassic Park. I try to keep my hands in the same position, like a machine, and try not to tighten up."

Nation was one of five volunteers to run and was the most junior-ranking member from the Academy to volunteer, said Chief Master Sgt. Stephen Ludwig, the Academy's command chief.

"I know he'll represent us well and appreciate all the support the community will give him," Ludwig said. "The Air Force Enlisted Village takes care of our own and continues to work hard to help the Air Force families long into retirement."

This year will mark the 17th annual Air Force marathon and it's expected to draw 15,000 participants across all events. Each year, runners from around the world participate in the marathon, wheelchair, half marathon, 10k and 5k races.